There’s no hiding the fact that Instagram is the reigning social champion for shameless selfies, food updates, and celebrities displaying their lavish trips to the Maldives.
A typical ego-boosting platform on the surface.
However there’s much more to the app than first meets the eye, and construction businesses are now starting to realise the potential Instagram offers for achieving their marketing objectives.
When integrated as a highly targeted visual advertising channel, Instagram can be effectively used to promote your construction brand, products and services.
Following on from our previous post, which detailed exactly how you can crush the competition over 2017, we’ll discuss how you can implement Instagram as part of your savvy social media marketing strategy.
Know what’s currently working for other businesses so you can take that additional step to enhancing your own marketing plan.
But first, why even use Instagram for business?
- Engagement – Engaging on social media platforms demonstrates your willingness to go above and beyond – to be there to answer any online queries or to share exciting news updates. Instagram is a great way to engage with your target audience through following, liking or commenting on photos. Remember the more you engage, the more likely you are to create strong brand ambassadors who will continue to use your services whilst recommending your products to others.
- Enhance brand culture – Show that you’re more than just a brand but a personality – this is the key way to build trust with your followers. Instagram is an easy yet effective way to update your audience on team activities, social days out, charity events or employee recognition.
- Show off your creativity – We all know how easy it is to get stuck in the loop of doing things exactly how you’ve always done it – and this is a dangerous habit to fall into. Instagram enables you to think of creative, visual ways to represent your content- whether it’s to demonstrate how your product works in situ, to update your followers on a renovation project, to show highlights from an interview with an architect, or to build excitement around an upcoming launch campaign.
How can you expose your brand to the right audience?
- Hashtags – Expose your construction business to the right audience and build your following by using hashtags. Although there has been much debate as to the relevancy of using hashtags across social, it is crucial they are used within Instagram posts – not only to maximise exposure but to ensure your updates are seen by the right people. Iconosquare or Websta enable you to find trending keyword hashtags that best describe or align with your brand or products. This should include product category keywords, such as ‘timber doors’, or ‘aluminium doors’, simple brand category keywords such as ‘doors’, and location specific keyword hashtags such as ‘London’ or ‘Manchester’. It’s best to revisit keyword hashtags every few months to ensure there isn’t a new trending one in your line of work that you’re missing out on.
- Your competitors’ followers – it’s time to get a little sneaky and seek out those competitors already active on Instagram. Follow your competitor’s followers, like or comment on a photo of theirs and watch your own following grow. Remember, the more effort you put into engaging with the right people, the better the results
- Sponsored posts or product reviews – Post your product information to other larger accounts in your niche in order to expose your account to a larger audience. Although this option is not free, it may be beneficial to gain maximum exposure for your construction business, or if you’re trying to promote a brand new product launch. Again you can use Websta to search for the top construction-related Instagram accounts, with a large following and who feature the relevant keyword hashtags to promote your brand. You can then contact them and ask for a sponsored post pricing. Alternatively, you can create your own ad through Facebook using the power editor tool (but that’s for another post!)
Tip: Ensure your account is not set to private – exposure will be limited and hashtags will only be found by your current followers!
How are construction companies using it?
- Balfour Beatty – Their Instagram incorporates the use of video to demonstrate a range of projects they’ve collaborated with, including an effective panning shot of their installation work at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. They also use video to show ‘behind-the-scenes’ coverage of their bespoke equipment working in situ. This gives their followers a richer insight into their business. The more information you’re willing to share with your followers about your brand, the more likely you are to build loyalty, trust and demonstrate how you stand out from the others.
- Lafarge Holcim – They’ve used an orderly row of banner images across their Instagram account in neat succession. These consist of the length of three individual images. What is clever about this technique is that it can be used to show a range of high-quality, close up shots of your product, and as the user clicks on the images in succession, the text beneath gradually reveals what the product is. In the example below, we can see how the third and last image in the banner reveals that it’s their new product for insulation. Not only does this technique demonstrate the quality of the product upclose, but it’s also an effective way of keeping the user engaged.
- BASF – BASF use Instagram as a platform to emphasise their brand culture and passion for sustainability. As well as this, they broadcast a range of personal updates about the company including new recruits, events they’ve attended and presentations they’ve given. What is most effective is the way they’ve introduced a range of people in their posts to demonstrate the direct impact of modern and sustainable farming methods worldwide on individuals, which has a much stronger and personal impact on the website visitor.
What becomes apparent across all three of these construction businesses is the consistency of their updates, their careful use of hashtags to be seen by those who matter, and the well-rounded representation they give of their company on both a corporate and personal level.
How can you better the competition?
So how can you better yourselves and ensure you’re exceeding the competition? The following apps will help you to incorporate video and image effectively into your Instagram marketing strategy.
- Boomerang – This app lets you capture GIF-like videos by taking bursts of photos and stitching them together into a HD video loop. The loop then starts to play forward and backward repeatedly. It’s a fun, quirky way of demonstrating the atmosphere at social events or simply within the office!
- Hyperlapse – Start creating timelapse videos – a great tool for sitting your phone on a tripod and recording a day’s work on site or at a project build. Speed the finished video up and upload to Instagram for a great way of showing your work in progress from start to finish.
- Layout – This helps you to form a simple collage of photos – simple yet effective for grouping selected images into one post.
- Instasize – Ever had a great high-res image to share from a recent case study but found it gets cropped when trying to upload it to Instagram? This app solves your problems by fitting it neatly within the frame guidelines.
- Wordswag – Don’t judge the name straight away…this can be used as a high-quality promotional tool. It enables you to add filters and blur out the background in order to place text over the top (in whichever font or style you’d like to fit into your brand guidelines). This is great for promoting competitions, news about upcoming product launches, and for general announcements from your team.
- Publish This lets you publish your posts to both Twitter and Instagram at the right time, by informing you of when your audience are most likely to be online. This is great for ensuring you’re benefiting the most from your social media efforts.
- Giant square –Remember those banner images that BASF were using? This is how it’s done: Giant square enables you to create large, panorama pictures and banners on Instagram by segmenting a single image into several parts. You can then post those images in succession on Instagram, creating a multiple-photo grid.
Tip: Instagram is now popular for its ‘story’ option where you can give your followers an update that appears on their homepage (see below). Try out Boomerang, Hyperlapse or Wordswag and upload it to your story so that it appears at the top of your followers’ homescreen. There’s also an option to film live streams – are you attending a construction event or exhibiting a stand at Ecobuild where you can record the days events live for your audience to see?
Instagram in a nutshell
Ultimately, your target audience make instant judgments based on the visual identity of a business. So without a strong Instagram presence, construction companies may risk being ignored or forgotten, especially among the next generation of consumers.
And whilst the construction industry is still fairly new to the platform, there’s so much potential for connecting with your audience in a visually creative way. Architects, contractors and specifiers are always looking for the most simple ways to digest product information – so whilst Instagram may not be an instant lead converter, the platform serves as a great tool for promoting product launches, demonstrating brand awareness, brand culture, and generally allowing your audience an opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level.
For more information on creating an effective social media marketing strategy, download our Social Media eBook here, or contact us on 01908 671 707.